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Prostate enlargement drug increases risk of adverse events for patients after cataract surgery: study

A study led by a St. Michael’s Hospital physician has found patients treated with a drug commonly prescribed for an enlarged prostate before cataract surgery are at higher risk of experiencing an adverse event. This can range from requiring injections of antibiotics into the eye to additional surgeries.

Toronto, May 22, 2009

Dr. Chaim Bell Dr. Chaim Bell

A study led by a St. Michael’s Hospital physician has found patients treated with a drug commonly prescribed for an enlarged prostate before cataract surgery are at higher risk of experiencing an adverse event. This can range from requiring injections of antibiotics into the eye to additional surgeries.

The study is the first to find a link between Tamsulosin — a drug prescribed for patients with prostate problems ― and complications after cataract surgery.

According to the study, those treated with the drug have more than two times the risk of later experiencing an adverse event.

“While it is unclear whether stopping the drug prior to surgery reduces the risk of an adverse event, it is important that patients be properly informed about the risks and that surgeons identify possible patients at risk. By doing this, we can better plan and prepare to ensure are patients are receiving the best and safest care,” says Dr. Chaim Bell, lead researcher from St. Michael’s Hospital and a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

More than 120,000 cataract surgeries are done every year in Ontario. Tamsulosin is a commonly used medication in patients with an enlarged prostate. In 2007, Tamsulosin earned more than US$1 billion in sales worldwide.

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